IS OUR WELL POISONED?: A HISTORICAL /ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF CHRISTIAN HIGHER EDUCATION IN NIGERIA

DR. FELIX EHIMARE ENEGHO

Abstract


Abstract

Higher education right from ancient times to our contemporary time has been full of challenges in all areas. All countries in our global community have one form of story or another to tell in the area of education and most especially higher education. Just as higher education in America is in the midst of profound challenge and transformation so is the situation in some other countries of the world. The world today seems to be more interested in science and technology and believes that other areas of education are not important. It is a truism that in most of American Universities and Colleges political conflict and social unrest have been especially visible indicating some of the signs of change and stress. In Nigeria, the situation is not too different as almost all higher institutions which include Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education are bedevilled with all kinds of political conflict and acts of cultism which always result in violence among students. This paper asked a fundamental question “is our well poisoned?” and thereafter the paper explored the historical/economic analysis of Christian higher education in Nigeria. The question “is our well poisoned?” is asked from the point of view of the “well” being used as a symbol in this work. In the ancient world and in many developing countries today the well provides a source of water for many. If the well which is one source of getting water is poisoned it certainly deprives many from getting water which is used for so many purposes in various societies. This question is asked against the backdrop of how education started in Nigeria through various Christian missionary bodies from different parts of Europe and America. During the era of the early Christian missionaries in Nigeria, most of the schools built were under the management of the Christian foreign missionaries. During the period, education was given freely to the people without the missionaries thinking of economic gains. The absence of institutions of higher learning in Nigeria during the missionary era prompted the missionaries to send young promising Nigerians to Europe and America for higher studies. Such educated elites eventually became the harbingers of higher education and political leadership in post colonial Nigeria. Nigeria today can boast of several institutions of higher learning though not as many as those in America. Many of such institutions are government owned while some others are owned and managed by religious bodies such as Christianity and Islam. When reference is made in this work to higher educational institutions we shall focus on Christian established educational institutions. Our aim in this paper is to assess the quality of higher educational institutions in Nigeria and their availability to the children of both the affluent and the poor persons in our society. But it is common knowledge that many higher educational institutions in Nigeria are not only poorly funded but are mostly attended by the children of the poor  while those in political leadership as well as the affluent send their kids for higher education in Europe and America. Even in the Christian educational institutions which are most times better funded than those owned by the government, the fees are often too high for the poor. The implication is that only the kids of the very rich get to attend such schools. Which bring us again to the question “is our well poisoned?” If the foreign missionaries in the past could make sacrifices for the development of Nigeria why can the Christian higher educational institutions not do the same? This and other questions shall be analysed in this paper. The research methodology consist of a combination of socio – historical and evaluative approaches 


Keywords


Christian and Higher Education

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7832/45-3-191

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